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State of Utah asks for more words in same-sex marriage appeal

The Utah Attorney General’s office has asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to expand its principal brief in the same-sex marriage appeal by 10,000 words. Court rules limit the brief to only 14,000 words. Attorneys for the plaintiff couples do not oppose the request, according to the state’s request, dated Jan. 29.

Courts generally frown on such motions, especially when they are made within days of the brief’s due date.

“Motions to exceed the word count will be denied unless extraordinary and compelling circumstances can be shown. A motion filed within 14 days of the brief’s due date must show why earlier filing was not possible,” the rules state.

The state’s brief is due Monday, Feb. 3.

“This appeal presents one of the most important and debated legal and policy questions of our time: the constitutionality of a State’s decision to define marriage as only the union of a man and a woman,” Special Assistant Utah Attorney General Gene Schaerr argued in the request. “The marriage issue is not only compelling, it is also legally and sociologically substantive, and deserves and requires thoughtful and thorough development and analysis.”

Schaerr wrote that the state will be citing “a vast amount of social science material” in their brief which, by themselves, could extend the work count past the court’s allotment.

He also wrote that they could not make the request earlier, because he was hired only on Jan. 16 and is only now able to “familiarize himself with the district court’s lengthy decision, the applicable law and social science involved in this appeal, and then to help shape the State Defendants’ arguments to best present them to the Court.”

Experts believe it is likely the court will allow the extra verbiage.

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4 Comments

  1. Interesting and revealing verbiage in the state's request– it seems they haven't really learned much from the previous decisions in cases declared unconstitutional– “The marriage issue is not only compelling, it is also legally and sociologically substantive…”? Sounds like 10,000 more words for a losing argument that the primary design of marriage is to "procreate."

  2. And those words include,"holy shit". "How the Hell Did This Happen?" , "Jesus Tap Dancing Christ", "What the phuqe, I turned around and now this!"

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